2005 Volunteers of the Year

Dr. Padma Nanayakkara, Quota International of Armidale, NSW

Dr. Padma Nanayakkara

Quota International of Armidale, NSW

Dr. Padma Nanayakkara is a very special member of Quota International of Armidale. Sponsored by Past International President Verna Stewart, Padma joined Quota’s Armidale club three years ago. Dr. Padma, who works as a general practitioner in a medical center, is an active Quota member who brings her medical expertise to the club by running women’s health seminars and giving advice on the status of women in the world today. She is always ready to rise to the occasion, and on the day after Christmas 2004, when the world awoke to learn about the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Dr. Padma’s response was immediate!

Realizing that her hometown of Galle, Sri Lanka, was affected by the Tsunami disaster, Dr. Padma somehow managed to communicate with her family. Finding them safe, her thoughts immediately went out to the people of Galle. Dr. Padma responded by flying to Galle and visiting the disaster site. On arriving, she filmed and took photos of the devastation and spent long periods of time at the hospital volunteering her services. During her hospital visit, Dr. Padma became aware of a major health problem: patients were suffering from thalassemia (the deposition of extra iron), a physical growth inhibitor that also causes organ damage. Taking note of the needs of patients and the lack of equipment, Dr. Padma returned home to raise awareness and seek support.

On International Women’s Day, at a breakfast hosted by QI of Armidale, Dr. Padma presented a PowerPoint program that showed both the effects of the Tsunami and the suffering of thalassemia patients. Because of her efforts, Dr. Padma was able to raise funds through the club to meet special hospital emergency needs. She extended her fund-raising efforts to include drug donations from pharmaceutical companies. Subsequently, Dr. Padma was able to raise enough money to build houses. Moreover, the pharmaceutical companies generously responded with over $50,000 worth of goods, and the city of Armidale has set up a trust fund to build homes for the homeless. In addition, Dr. Padma and her family have been extremely generous in giving to their home locality and hospital by personally traveling back to Sri Lanka and organizing the purchase of goods.

Dr. Padma and her husband migrated to Australia 20 years ago and are happily living in Armidale. Dr. Padma is also the mother of three children: she has a daughter and two sons. Padma’s daughter is the captain of her private school, and one of her sons is studying at a University in Queensland, while her other son attends senior classes at a local private school.

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